First, there is no evidence of widespread voter impersonation fraud in Pennsylvania. In fact, over the past five years, no one has been prosecuted for this crime. In short, the law is unnecessary.
Second, the law will be expensive for Pennsylvania taxpayers. It could cost the state as much as $11 million to provide free photo ID cards to people who need them to vote, and to educate the public and train poll workers on the new law.
Third, the law will be expensive for many residents who need to obtain a photo ID to vote. While voters without ID will be able to obtain a PennDOT non-driver photo ID for free, the underlying documents needed to apply for an ID, such as a birth certificate, are not free.
Fourth, many voters who need to collect underlying documents in order to apply for an ID, or who moved to Pennsylvania from another state, may find it impossible to get these documents. They won’t be able to apply for the free photo ID at all.
Finally, the law will cause confusion at the polls for both voters and poll workers regarding which forms of photo ID are acceptable. Long lines are likely, and worse, the law subjects our dedicated poll workers to severe criminal penalties if they fail to ask for ID or make the wrong decision regarding ID.
For these and other reasons, many lawmakers are sponsoring legislation that would repeal the voter ID law in Pennsylvania.
However, for now Voter ID is the law. That means if you vote in November, you will need a photo ID. This webpage is designed to answer common questions about the Voter ID law, what forms of photo ID are acceptable, and how to obtain your photo ID. Contact your state representative with any questions or assistance you need regarding the Voter ID law or voting in Pennsylvania in general.
Every time you vote. If you forget your photo ID, or don’t have photo ID, you will be permitted to cast a provisional ballot. You’ll then have six (6) days to verify your identity with your county board of elections in order for your vote to count.
In order to qualify as a valid form of photo ID for voting purposes, the ID must include your photograph, your name in substantially the same way it appears on the voter roll, and an expiration date.
Under the law, the following are acceptable forms of photo ID:
If you don’t possess any of the above forms of photo identification, you can obtain a Pennsylvania non-driver Photo ID.
The Pennsylvania non-driver Photo ID normally costs $13.50. However, PennDOT will waive the fee if you don’t have another form of ID and need the PA non-driver Photo ID to vote.
In order to have the fee waived, you MUST complete and sign an Oath/Affirmation Voter ID form stating that you do not have another form of photo ID and need the non-driver Photo ID to vote. Make sure you request an Oath/Affirmation form when you visit the Driver License Center to apply for your photo ID.
If you do not possess the necessary documents to obtain a PA non-driver photo ID, you may apply for a free photo ID card issued by the Department of State for voting purposes only.
While the $13.50 fee for a PennDOT non-driver photo ID will be waived if you attest that you need the ID to vote, keep in mind that other documentation you need to apply for a photo ID will cost money. Also, some of these supporting documents can take weeks or even months to obtain, so if you need a non-driver photo ID to vote in the general election, you should begin taking steps to get one NOW!
If you have questions or need assistance obtaining state-issued documents such as a certified birth certificate, please contact your state representative.
Obtain PennDOT form DL-54A – Application for an Initial Photo Identification Card – at PennDOT, online on the Department of Transportation website (www.dmv.state.pa.us), or through your representative’s office. Complete the application and take it to a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Driver License Center.
When you visit the Driver License Center, along with your completed application, you will also need:
Your Social Security Card
One (1) of the following:
Certificate of U.S. Citizenship
Certificate of Naturalization
Valid U.S. Passport
Birth Certificate with a raised seal
Two (2) proofs of residency with your street address listed
Proof of residency can include a lease agreement, a current utility bill, mortgage documents, a W-2 form, or tax records.
For students, proof of residence can include your dorm room assignment paperwork and one bill with your dorm room street address on it. Bank statements, paystubs and credit card bills with your street address are also acceptable.
Individuals who don’t have any bills, leases, or other documents listing their street address may bring a person with whom they are living to the Driver License Center with them. The person should have their driver’s license or non-driver photo ID with them.
NOTE: If you had a Pennsylvania driver’s license or non-driver photo ID at some point in the past, PennDOT will not require you to show a birth certificate or other identity or residency documentation in order to apply for a non-driver photo ID for voting purposes. PennDOT will confirm your identity and residency using information they already have in their system. If you had a license or non-driver photo that expired prior to 1990, call PennDOT’s Customer Care Center at 1-800-932-4600 to verify that your information is still in the system.
When your application and supporting documentation have been reviewed and processed, a Driver License Center staff member will direct you to the Photo Center to have your photo taken.
Once your photo has been taken, you will be issued a Pennsylvania non-driver Photo ID card. If you’ve completed the Oath/Affirmation Voter ID form, PennDOT will waive the $13.50 fee for the Photo ID card. Again, make sure you ask for and complete the Oath/Affirmation Voter ID form when you visit the Driver License Center so the usual $13.50 fee is waived.
* PennDOT announced in late July it would work with registered voters who are not able to provide all of the documents they would normally need to obtain a photo ID from PennDOT, such as a birth certificate. Please contact your local PennDOT center to see if they are willing to work with you.
Voters who vote by absentee ballot will also be required to verify their identity in every election, beginning with the November 2012 general election.
When applying for an absentee ballot, you will have to provide your Pennsylvania driver’s license number. If you do not have a valid Pennsylvania driver’s license (or one that is not more than 12 months past its expiration), you will have to provide the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number. If you do not have either a valid Pennsylvania driver’s license or a Social Security Number, you will have to provide a copy of an acceptable photo ID.”
If you don’t submit proof of identity with your application or with your voted ballot, you can still cast an absentee ballot, but you will have to provide the necessary identification within six (6) days of the election to have your vote count. You may provide your identification to the county board of elections in person, over the phone, by email or by traditional mail.
Once your identification is verified by the county board of elections, your vote will be counted.
Voters who are covered under the Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act and the Voting Accessibility for Elderly and Handicapped Act are exempt from these requirements.
You may still vote. You will need to obtain a valid without-photo driver’s license or without-photo non-driver ID card from PennDOT. More information on how to obtain a non-photo driver’s license or ID card is available from PennDOT or by contacting your lawmaker’s office.
If you are legally entitled to vote, you cannot be denied the right to do so. If you do not have a photo ID or forget to take your photo ID to the polls with you on Election Day, YOU MAY STILL CAST A PROVISIONAL BALLOT.
You will have six (6) days after the election to provide your photo ID and/or an affirmation to your county elections office to have your ballot count. Affirmations and copies of ID may be returned to the county board of elections in person, by mail, by fax, or by email.
Pennsylvania's Voter ID law was suspended by the courts for the May 21, 2013 Primary Election. If you are interested in learning about what the Voter ID law may require in future elections, CLICK HERE. Further challenges and appeals to the law are pending